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Catie Palsgraaf, left, and Paula Amelsberg move books in the Supreme Court law library on Thursday. The library is in the Supreme Court wing of the state Capitol. 

North Dakota lawmakers approved more than one library project in their 2019 legislative session. 

As the House and Senate passed provisions for a Theodore Roosevelt presidential library at Medora, they also OK'd a $970,000 remodel of the North Dakota Supreme Court Law Library in the judicial branch budget.

The remodel is meant as a cost-saving maneuver to relocate judicial information technology staff from a rental space in downtown Bismarck. The project's money will come from the Capitol building fund. 

Also passed in the judicial budget is a new district judge and court reporter for the South Central Judicial District that covers Burleigh, Morton and other counties. The judicial district has had a shortage of two to three judges for several years, based on weighted caseload studies. Nine judges serve the district now.

North Dakota's eight judicial districts have 51 district judges, with the last new judges approved in 2015. 

The judicial budget also includes legislative intent for the courts to consider relocating judges before asking for new seats, as well as a judicial study of the necessity of attaching a court reporter to each judge. 

Also included is funding for a drug court at Wahpeton, which has depleting federal funding. 

The $110.6 million, two-year judicial budget goes to Gov. Doug Burgum. 

The budget represents a 6.3% increase from the last session, when 10% of court staff were cut due to far-reaching budget reductions.

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Reach Jack Dura at 701-223-8482 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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